Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has reportedly been working on a deal to bring former Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong to Old Trafford.
United are hunting for a holding midfield man ahead of the new Premier League season and Goal.com has revealed that Woodward has reportedly held meetings with AC Milan officials over an £8 million.
“Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has been working tirelessly behind the scenes in a bid to strengthen the Dutchman's options - and having identified De Jong as a potential recruit, met with the Milan midfielder's representatives in London on Tuesday,” reports Goal.
De Jong is a player that coach Louis van Gaal knows well and someone who can add something to United’s midfield, which they don’t already have.
United are blessed with creative midfielders in the form of Juan Mata and Ander Herrera and players who read the game well in Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley, but what they don’t have is an aggressive presence in the middle to rattle opposition sides.
De Jong is the sort of player who can protect those key creative men in the middle, allowing them to focus on creating chances and scoring goals rather than having to defend themselves against a big side.
Mata and Herrera are both slight individuals, well experienced but weaker physically against some midfield opponents who like to bully and dominate the opposition.
The likeliness of United signing de Jong is difficult to gauge because there are other reports, which suggest LvG is keener on a deal for Ajax star Daley Blind.
Blind played the holding role for van Gaal in the Netherlands side at the World Cup and he also offers cover at left-back, which United don’t currently have.
Where de Jong has the edge over Blind is in terms of his experience and the fact he’s played in the Premier League before.
At 29-years-old he may be looking for the final move of his career and United could draw him in with a competitive long-term deal. It will be fascinating to see how it pans out.